Data Doctors Tech Tips
Tech Tips for Non-Tech People
We give quick, one minute tech tips each weekday! Join us on a radio station near you as we talk tech. It's Tech Tips for Non-Tech People! You can post questions on Facebook anytime!
That smartphone in your hand has substantially more processing power than the entire group at NASA had for the 1969 lunar landing.
Your phone also holds virtually every private thought
& a large amount of sensitive information that you wouldn't want just anyone to see.
For whatever reason, many don’t think of their smartphones the same way they do their computers, but it's essentially the same thing when it comes to your sensitive personal information.
That may be why so many of people still have not taken the simple step in protecting all your valuable info by turning on the lock screen.
A common reason that many don’t turn it one is that don’t want to be bothered with tapping in a lock code every time you want to use the phone, but you should know that the alternative is scary.
The likelihood of you losing a phone or having it stolen is very real, so take a second to protect your phone right now.
All the other powerful security features built into your phone are useless if you don’t take the time to lock the front door!
Trying to remember all your passwords continues to be one of today's biggest tech issues that we all face. Password management tools to help with this problem are being developed by a large number of companies.
You can add Google to the list with their 'Smart Lock' feature that works on Android devices, Chromebooks and with Chrome browsers on your various devices.
You have been able to save a password in your computer's browser for years, but when you pick up your smartphone to access the same site, you'll have to remember your password again.
The 'Google Smart Lock' option is designed to give you a way to sync up your passwords, so when you save passwords on your smartphone, they will be saved on your computer as well and vice versa.
Their Android app is also designed to keep your phone unlocked when it is in a safe place by recognizing variables like location, your other trusted devices or even from your voice and then lock things down when it appears that it may not be safe.
It can help reduce the frustrating forgotten password scenario on your regularly used devices.
Learn what it's all about at http://google.com/smartlock
Most of us have been in a public setting working on our laptops, tablets or smartphones with the creepy feeling that someone may be snooping to see what you have displayed on your screen.
Lot's of sensitive information can be seen by nosey people nearby if we aren’t careful; it even has a name: Visual Hacking.
Whether you are dealing with a nosey passenger sitting right next to you on an airplane or the questionable guy sitting behind you at a coffee shop, there's something you can do to protect yourself.
They're called 'privacy screens' and they've been around for a long time to protect your laptop, tablet or smartphone from snooping eyes.
The way they work is by darkening your display unless you are directly in front of it, keeping those off to your sides in the dark.
When it comes to your portable devices, they also provide an extra layer of screen protection for your glass in case you drop it.
They are simple to put on and remove, so if you're one of the millions that spends tons of time working with your tech in public spaces, take a look at 3M’s protectors which I've linked to at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you're like me and find that you're using a smartphone for productivity tasks these days, you have probably already realized the biggest bottleneck: the keyboard.
While today's on-screen keyboards are great, they can be a bit of a challenge even for those with small hands when trying to type a large amount of text.
An alternative that's effective is using the voice recognition option as an input, but so many of us are still too keyboard concentric.
If you have to type a lot of text or work within a spreadsheet, a full-size keyboard is just more useful, so you can make it so!
Most tablet users are already familiar with connecting a wireless Bluetooth keyboard to their large devices, but haven’t thought about connecting it to their phones.
The setup process is much the same as with all Bluetooth devices, so it is easy to get connected.
Virtually any Bluetooth keyboard has the ability to attach to any mobile device, so if you've already bought one for another device, now you know you can use it on your smartphone as well!
The Web is an incredible tool for researching comparisons between products and services, but what can you do when you aren’t sure what to compare?
Here is what I learned to do when I know of at least one product but don’t necessarily know about the competitive items.
I just type the letters ‘ S' (as in versus) after whatever it is that I am searching for.
For example, if I’m shopping for cars and want to see the comparisons to Honda's Civic, I would put 'Honda Civic vs’ as the search condition, then hit the enter key.
I find this approach really helpful when I’m for mobile apps in just about any category. Once you know of one app, you can quickly discover lots of others you didn’t know existed using this tip.
It’s especially effective with anything in tech, since there are so many resources online comparing gadgets, software and websites from around the world.
Now, this isn’t a fool-proof method for every item, but I’ve found that it’s pretty useful lots of times because Google’s algorithm uses the keywords you’re typing with their powerful popularity ranking.
Try it for yourself!
"If you come to fork in the road, take it!"
When you hear or read a 'famous quote' and wonder who said that, this tip is for you.
A handy web resource called Quotery.com has compiled a comprehensive database of famous quotes in an easy to use interface.
You can now search over 125,000 quotes & proverbs directly, by author or topic.
Whether you are researching something, working on your presentation or updating a blog, Quotery.com is a useful resource for accurate quotes.
It’s billed as an encyclopedia of wit and wisdom, so it can be fun just to randomly snoop around in the database for interesting quotes.
What I like about this resource over so many others is that they provide sources and context around the quote & author.
They also allow users to suggest edits to keep the resource as accurate as possible.
Here’s fun suggestion: read all of the rest of the amazing quotes from the great American philosopher 'Yogi Berra'.
You aren’t going to need Quotery.com that often, but when you do, it’s an invaluable tool!
In my many years of helping people with their tech, one recurring issue seems to persist; every user knows that they should back up their critical data, but they just never seem to get around to doing it.
If you are one of the masses that have this important task on their "to-do" list, but haven't been motivated to getting around to it, see if this helps:
The very real threat of ransomware, which is when malicious hackers gain access to your system and lock down all your critical data, including any attached backup drive is getting worse.
The latest versions are even spreading themselves in ways we have never seen before.
If you do become a victim of this attack and you don’t have a verified off-site copy of your data, your choices are to lose everything or pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get your sensitive personal files back.
Online services like Carbonite's unlimited backup are one of the best ways to avoid ever having to pay any ransom, because your actual backup isn't connected to your computer when it's attacked.
You should consider this a wake up call, especially if you don’t have any kind of secure off-site backup in place!
There is a recurring thread that has surfaced from practically every major breach or breakin you have heard about these days.
Most of them started with a simple, but targeted phishing message sent to someone in the breached company.
Cleverly crafted e-mails that appear to be an inter-company message, also known as spear-phishing, are also snaring many victims of ransomware.
An effective way to trick someone is by creating fake messages that appear to be from a fellow employee in the same company.
This means you need to start paying very close attention to all messages that appears to be from others in your company.
If your organization wants to test it's employees by running a spear-phishing test, checkout the tools at http://KnowBe4.com.
The offer a free phishing security test that can be used to test up to 100 employees to see how if they'll fall for a message that appears to be from the IT department at your company.
You will quickly learn how vulnerable your company may be to this growing threat.
I’ve posted the link at DataDoctors.com/radio.
These days, when we want to get info on anything we generally do a search using Google but when you’re searching for info when a problem pops up on your computer, you need to be extremely careful.
A growing issue with Google search results is with misleading tech support ads posing as legitimate companies in an attempt to victimize unsuspecting users.
For instance, if you search ’Norton Antivirus Tech Support’ you’ll get lots of companies posing as the official tech support site but they actually have nothing to do with the real company.
Another trick they employ is posting toll free phone numbers in the ads knowing that a lot of people will just call the number when it comes up in a search without ever clicking through to the ad’s landing page first.
For all intents and purposes, you can’t trust companies just because they show up in Google search result because scammers have figured out a way to game the system.
Here’s how to make absolutely sure you are getting the legitimate support resource from any company you do business with: just type their address in with a /support at the end.
For example, for Norton you would type Norton.com/support which will take you directly to their support page.
I’ve posted more tips for avoiding this growing scam at DataDoctors.com/radio
You probably know how important maintenance is for keeping things working smoothly, when it comes to your car, pool or your own physical fitness.
But when it comes to computers, for some reason, the concept of maintaince has never hit the general public.
Imagine how expensive (& painful) owning a car would be if you never did anything to keep it maintained!
With that in mind, I’m hoping to encourage you Windows users to take a simple first step in maintaining your PC by using the free built-in utility known as the 'Disk Cleanup' tool.
The tool pretty much does what the name implies, which will help to free up valuable disk space and make your computer run a little faster.
The utility resides in the 'Programs' menu under Accessories and then System Tools.
If you've never run the tool before or it’s been a long while, it'll likely take a bit of time for the program to do its job, so be patient.
I highly recommend that you start doing this at least once a month!
Anyone that has to work in an office of cubicles, a.k.a a cube farm, you know how easy it is for the wandering eyes of co-workers to see what you’re working on when you step away from the desk.
It can really be annoying if you happen to work with a bunch of pranksters when you don’t take the time to lock your computer down before stepping away.
You should get into the routine of locking your system down using a simple keyboard-shortcut before walking away, which will keep those snooping eyes off your screen and prevent the grief from your prankster co-workers.
Windows simply need to press the Windows Icon key and the letter “L" (as in lock) to make it happen.
If you’re a Mac user, just press Control+Shift+Eject at the same time to lock down your desktops.
If you're Mac doesn’t have an ‘Eject' key, just use Control+Shift+Power instead get it done.
This tip only makes sense if you’ve setup a login password, so make sure you remember this important step.
Parents can also use this process to keep young children from using the computer when they aren't supposed to be on it.
I’m taking the risk of grossing you out, but there's something I need to bring to your attention: that smartphone in your pocket is a breeding ground for filthy bacteria.
A news article claims that the smartphone you touch everyday has 18X the bacteria that an average public restroom door knob has on it, you know those handles that you always avoid touching.
Making things worse, your smartphones typically runs warm and gets placed in dark insulated locations like our pocket or handbag which helps the bacteria breed.
So you’re thinking you’ll just wipe your phone down with some antibacterial wipes, but the harsh chemicals in most cleaners can be hard on phone screens.
Properly formulated screen cleaners may be a better way to go, but it may not sanitize your handset properly.
If you are looking for a safe way to sanitize your phone on a regular basis, there’s a device called Phonesoap you may want to look into.
Phonesoap is a special container that can bombard your phone with powerful UV light to kill bacteria while you’re charging your phone.
Skeptical? Me too, until I saw the Discovery Channel lab test video that showed some impressive results.
Germ-a-phobes aside, check it out at PhoneSoap.com
Crowdsourcing is a terrific method of getting things accomplished ranging from developing a new logo to building a web site to getting admin tasks done through a virtual assistant.
Add to that the hiring a business consultant through a website called HourlyNerd.com.
Large expensive consulting firms are financially out-of-reach for small businesses or when it's a small project, which is the niche HourlyNerd is trying to fill.
Their aim is to match businesses with industry professionals and MBAs that can assist with just about any challenge.
As with many other crowd-sourcing resources, consultants bid for your tasks, which help to keep the costs much more competitive.
Whether you need a helping hand with a business plan, creating a marketing strategy, developing financial projections or any custom project, HourlyNerd offers consultants on an as-need basis.
The site's consultants are mostly current & former MBA students from over fifty colleges from around the globe, so it’s a truly diverse workforce competing for your business.
Checkout case studies & learn more at http://HourlyNerd.com
For you regular listeners to my daily tips, you know that I'm on an endless quest to discover the best ways to display all my digital photos.
If you have seen high-resolution images printed directly to glass at a fancy art gallery, you know how eye-catching the pictures are.
Well, you can create these same amazing glass photos right from your PC with a few taps of your mouse.
A site called 'Fracture' is a printing company online that lets you upload images then select one of five sizes that ranges from 5x7 to 22x30 printed in either portrait, landscape or square.
The entire process takes but a few minutes and the glass pictures range in price from $18 to $125.
Fracture prints your images directly to the back of a piece of flat glass, then they add a black backing and ship it to you, which generally only takes a couple of days.
This presentation of your best pictures makes for spectacular wall art or makes for a special gift that captures great people and unforgettable moments in your life.
You can even create Fractures from some of the famous art and photography in their Art Store.
Check it all out at https://www.fractureme.com
Fancy craft cocktails are a huge thing these days, but having them served to you at a local watering hole gets pretty expensive, pretty fast.
If you would like to avoid hipster bars and save a little cash, why not start making them yourself?
You can certainly buy loads of books full of drink recipes, but a smarter method is to tap into the awesome database in the Mixology app.
You begin by informing the app of the liquor and mixers you have on hand so you’ll get recipes for the stuff you available.
It’s always frustrating to find a new drink recipe only to see that you have to run to the store if you want to make it!
You can ask for random suggestions or use a specific liquor as a starter to get lots of suggestions.
The app's recipes go beyond just simple cocktails; you can learn to make specialty shots, punches, hot drinks & even non-alcoholic beverages for the DDs at your party.
The free Mixology app includes a complete bartender's guide and is available for both iPhone and Android users.
It’s a smart resource for increasing your mixology skills!
All of the current smartphones have many incredible features but unfortunately, those features suck...battery power that is.
When you’re on a trip and only have a few minutes to recharge, it’s important to maximize the small window of time that you have.
The best way to max out any quick charge is to shut down the phone completely while you are charging.
If you can’t, consider putting the phone in 'airplane mode’ so background tasks & power chomping radios like Wi-Fi & Bluetooth don’t eat up what little charge you’re getting.
If you check-in to a hotel room and have more devices to charge than power outlets, don’t forget that most newer TV’s have a USB port that can also be used as a charger.
It's not going to charge nearly as fast as the proper charger and you need to have the TV turned on, but in a pinch, it's a lifesaver.
One last thing to keep in mind; heat is a battery's biggest nightmare. Nothing will shorten the life of any battery more than too much heat, so try to keep it out of direct sunlight & don’t leave them in hot vehicles.
Also avoid charging any device when its hot to the touch.
If you've ever called tech support for help, you’ve been told that the 1st step to troubleshoot your issue is to restart your computer.
It’s amazing how many problems it can solve and when it comes to solving Internet problems, there’s an equally easy process most users overlook...clearing the browser cache.
Browser cache, spelled C A C H E is a host of items that you have already downloaded from previous surfing sessions.
By re-using the items that are already in your cache, all your devices can load web pages a lot faster because it isn’t necessary to download everything from the Internet.
But sometimes older stuff in the cache can cause a web page to load improperly, especially when it’s a site that requires log in credentials.
The next time you are experiencing problems at a specific website, you should give clearing the cache a try first.
If you aren’t sure how to clear your cache I’ve posted a link with instructions for the most common browsers at DataDoctors.com/radio
Being able to use wifi while flying has become more common these days with virtually every airline now offering it, it's especially useful on those long flights.
While it’s not the speediest connection you will ever use because you're sharing the same connection with the whole plane, it’s better than nothing.
If you are like me, often times you have several devices you need to connect, but aren’t willing to pay for each connection.
When that happens, don’t forget your laptop can serve as a wi-fi hotspot so you can share the connection with your other devices.
Mac & Windows users have Internet sharing options which will allow your other devices to connect via the same connection.
It’s also a money saver when your hotel charges by the device for web access.
I’ve posted links with the instructions for both Mac & Windows users at DataDoctors.com/radio
If you are a Windows user and find the built-in option a bit overwhelming to setup, there's an option from Connectify Hotspot that makes it much easier.
Connectify Hotspot - http://www.connectify.me/hotspot
Windows 7 - http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/set-internet-connection-sharing#1TC=windows-7
Windows 8/10 - http://howtogeek.com/112050/how-to-turn-your-windows-8-laptop-into-a-wireless-access-point
Mac - http://imore.com/how-turn-your-macs-internet-connection-wifi-hotspot-internet-sharing
Yesterday, I provided iPhone & iPad users a tip on restricted access to apps and today, I’m providing something similar for Android users.
The Hexlock app is a very powerful way to manage privacy and security on any Android device.
Hexlock lets you lock the various apps you want to protect with a special pass-code or locking pattern screen, which allows you to let someone use your device with complete security against snooping.
or dad’s mobile devices.
It can also act as a security barrier should your phone get stolen or lost while the phone is unlocked.
Hexlock also allows you to create 6 different profiles such as home, work, child or vacation and then protect those apps based on where your device is being used.
It’s a free app & getting it setup is pretty straight forward.
If this apps sounds interesting, just search the Google Play Store for ‘Hexlock'.
For millions of parents an iPhone or iPad have become an electronic babysitter, but just handing a young child unlimited access to everything on either device can be a little risky.
In those situations, a cool feature in Apple's iOS that many people don’t seem to know exists can easily protect your sensitive items when you hand your device to a child.
It’s known as 'Guided Access' and it lets you lock down the device and only allow one app to run.
Once you turn it on, choose an app and it will lock the system to just that app so you can hand it off knowing they can’t get into anything else.
If you have a collection of apps you want to give them access to, invoking ‘Restriction' settings can safeguard individual apps.
Either of these features can be setup quickly by going to the Settings menu and it won’t take a rocket-scientist to get it done.
If you need help I’ve posted how-to links for both of these useful features at DataDoctors.com/radio
Tomorrow, I’ve got a similar tip for all you Android users!
Setup Guided Access: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202612
Setup App Restrictions: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304
The folks at Google offer an amazing number of free tools, especially for the business community.
A lesser used tool but still one of my favorites is Google Trends.
Using Google Trends allows you to leverage Google’s enormous database for search-terms used by the world to see how often it’s typed in relative to the entire search universe.
It’s a great way to find relevant keywords that will attract desireable users to your website, so it’s a powerful market research tool as well.
You can search for trends and narrow the focus by country, state or even language and produce a chart showing the interest over time.
You can even adjust the timeframe from the past hour or start back in 2004 it can show you the relationship between multiple terms over time.
It’s an awesome way to find keywords that are seasonal, which can help with a variety of business marketing plans.
If you have yet to experience Google Trends, take a few minutes to learn how incredibly powerful this tool can be.
Just go to http://Google.com/trends to get started!